Eric Andre gets his main squad together to make a momentous transition from the small screen to the big screen with Bad Trip. Eric Andre is someone who has a very rich history of playing a wild character, who most people would consider bizarre and unusual. Bringing something new to the table, he created something that surprisingly has a lot of heart. Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery play Chris Carey and Bud Malone, two friends on the road to New York to meet Chris' love interest, Maria Li played by Michaela Conlin. While they are on this ridiculous havoc induced road trip, they are also being hunted by Bud's sister, Trina Malone played by Tiffany Haddish, for stealing her car for the road trip. The film is directed by a long time friend of Eric Andre, Kitao Sakurai, who has directed for Eric Andre, doing the Eric Andre Show. They wrote the screenplay together and tackled this very personal project. It truly seems like a very passionate and collaborative project for them. Shot in the same aspect of movies like Borat and Bad Grandpa, there are hidden cameras unknown to the public. This tactic is used to see the genuine reactions of lunacy that are happening in front of them. Although this team is most notable for their skit comedy, they are able to weave a good meaningful story throughout this movie as well. The story may seem very generic, but it still carries a lot of moments of smart dialogue and heartfelt scenes. A rare comedy that makes you actually care about the characters within it and you want them to succeed. Both Chris and Bud have different motivations to go on this trip and that makes for very compelling story. The movie itself is downright hilarious and left me laughing nonstop. I can excitedly say that this is one of the best comedies I have seen in the past couple years.
Storytelling is crucial when it comes to comedies and it can make or break them. It's always been about comedic timing and hitting the punchlines the right way when it comes to a good comedy. Bad Trip is able to deliver all of the jokes not only well, but consistent. With its strong writing of both Kitao and Eric, with years of working together, they were able to put a cohesive story that seemed to be very well planned out. There is a huge amount of structure in this movie, which was very surprising. A movie such as this, where it heavily relies on the reactions of untrained actors, just normal day people, could be a hard assignment to pull off. Everything thing has to go perfectly in order to get the best reactions. In some cases there are no do overs. If they mess up, they would have to set up the whole scene again and wait for new people to get a reaction from. Eric and Lil Rel Howery had long sequences of dialogue that they were not only able to memorize, but execute it in a way where it felt very genuine and real. I'm assuming that they did allow some room for improvisation, but they also were able to deliver such a great performance. They are able to get the right dialogue to further the plot and make it not feel forced. Not only that, they introduced many elements early on that plays a factor in the future skits. The writing is strong enough that they always seem to have a plan and a certain layout of skits that not only made these scenes funny, but also make it make sense of why these scenes are happening in the first place. Seeing the skits make sense to the story was crucial to making the overall story somewhat believable. All of this made this movie that much more enjoyable to watch. They didn't add random scenes just because they wanted to. The only time they did put random scenes, it was often rushed through nor did it spend too much unwanted time with it.
Funniest part of this movie is seeing the real reactions of the general public, I do have to say. This is what made me laugh the most. Genuine reactions not only propelled this movie in a comedic light, but also helped with making the movie feel very grounded. Preposterous scenes kept unraveling in front of these unexpected victims. I got a sense of realism. I wondered how I would react if I saw something like these skits happening in front of me. There were some skits that felt unbelievable and there has to be a moment of disbelief. That's what made this movie even more fun to watch. I was constantly thrown in a loop with all the events that I was watching on the screen. Without spoiling anything, I will share that my favorite scene happens at the mall and seeing the production value they put into that scene specifically. They went all out and spent the budget exactly where it needed to be. The thing that probably helped a lot with Bad Trip is being able to use Sacha Baron Cohen as a resource during the production. Obviously with his films like Borat, Bruno and his most recent Borat sequel, he was able to point them in the right direction. Everything just flowed so well and there were no particular scenes that I could say fell flat. It carried this charm that made me smile from beginning to end.
Bad Trip is a fun time for audiences that like skit hidden camera comedies. I know for a fact that there is going to be a large amount of people who won't like this movie as well. That is totally fine. It fits a very particular genre of comedy. Although it is very outrageous, this movie is a lot more accessible audiences than Borat. It serves to be a more grounded story that dishes out a more palatable meal of a movie. Warning to those who can't tolerate crude humor. There are some scenes where you will be disgusted, but I would say this is mostly a tamed movie based on it's other counterparts that are within this genre. Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery have a special chemistry and you can tell they had a blast making this movie. Although, fun fact, Howery almost left the movie after an incident on set. In one of the scenes they go into a barber shop and it was the wrong one. The barber inside got mad and truly chased them out with a knife. Tiffany Haddish was the one that got him to rejoin the movie. That's how she eventually got casted as well by having that conversation. I think that worked in their favor because she absolutely killed it in her role. Bad Trip just hit the mark with me. So many things could have made this movie not work and I'm amazed how they were able to accomplish so much. From the hilarious scenes, the grounded story and characters, I loved this movie. A movie that I will be rewatching with my other friends, just to see their reactions. Make sure to check this one out!